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Janna's Blog Article

Jan 22, 2016

Farmer And Seeds


Category:Business Management Leadership Team Building 
Posted by: actionjanna
"No one listens to my ideas! I can share an idea with my team and it gets dismissed. Then a few months later someone else on the team shares essentially the same idea and everyone sees the merit and we implement that idea. It is so frustrating to not be listened to!"
 
Such is the lament I have heard from countless executives, CEOs, and team members at organizations of all sizes and shapes. I'm consistently asked how to fix this "issue", in part so that a good idea can be implemented that much sooner.
 
Yes, it is true that many good ideas are ignored based on factors such as how the idea is delivered, timing, and--of course--the person making the delivery. While all of these factors can be improved upon, many times the core issue is a concept of the farmer and the seeds.
 
As a teenager I spent a summer on a Nebraska farm. One of the many discoveries I made is that farming takes patience and perseverance. In the spring, the seed is planted after the ground is prepared. It is then watered - usually by rain and also by irrigation in some parts of the country - and then you wait for the harvest, which usually isn't ready until the mid to late summer.
 
If you think all of your business ideas are being ignored, here's another way to interpret it. Think of those ideas as seeds that need time to be watered, to germinate, and then break through the hard crusted soil of your team's ears and listening skills. You are the farmer that needs to till the soil as well as provide the water, sunlight, and time needed to actually produce a plant worth harvesting. 
 
So often ideas are ahead of their time, or team members aren't good at taking something new and running with it. Sometimes the idea percolates in the brains of the team, often without them really understanding that they are processing that exact idea that you planted. It then shows up as their idea, and they don't even remember that you planted that seed months ago. Now I do agree that there are people who steal ideas for their own. That is unfortunate but also ultimately career-ending when the thief is discovered.
 
Your challenge is both to understand farming within your organization and to accept the incredible value you provide by being the farmer who plants the seed. Ideas need time to germinate. Some ideas often come before their time. One idea can be a foundation for a better idea. I have often joked that I was the queen of bad ideas. Yet any bad idea (among my many good ones) generally created the discussion and thought process needed to develop a better, more successful idea.
 
So for those who are the farmers in your business and planting seeds within the organization, appreciate the value you provide and stop whining that no one listens to you. They do; it just often takes time for those seeds to become fruitful--and for people to thank the farmer.